Can You End a Sentence With “However”?

The debate over whether you can properly end a sentence with "however" tends to divide grammarians. This contentious issue is often a source of confusion for English language learners and even native speakers. In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of this topic, offering clarity and guidance.

The Role of "However" in a Sentence

"However" is a versatile term, primarily functioning as an adverb or a conjunctive adverb. Its main purposes include introducing a contrast or contradiction and linking separate clauses within a sentence. It's commonly used to express differences between two statements or to add an unexpected or contrasting point.

Instances Where Ending With "However" Works Well

There are situations where ending a sentence with "However" can be quite effective. It can add a dramatic flair and suspense, leaving the reader eagerly anticipating the next sentence. The key lies in ensuring that the use of "However" at the end doesn't result in a fragment or an awkward sentence.

Sentence Explanation
"She wanted to go to the party. Her parents, however, didn't allow it." Here, "However" is used at the end to introduce a contrast.
"He had prepared extensively for the exam. He couldn't pass, however." "However" is used to add an unexpected outcome to the situation.
"The cake looked appetizing. It didn't taste that good, however." "However" serves to introduce a contrast between appearance and reality.
"She had promised to come. She didn't show up, however." "However" adds an element of disappointment to the sentence.
"They were all invited to the event. Only a few showed up, however." "However" is used to highlight the unexpected turnout.

Instances Where Caution is Needed

While ending a sentence with "However" can be effective, it isn't always the best choice. It can sometimes create awkward or unclear sentences, particularly if it's not used correctly.

Sentence Explanation
"He tried to lift the box. It was too heavy, however." The sentence would flow better if "however" was placed at the beginning of the second sentence.
"She wanted to tell him the truth. She couldn't muster the courage, however." The sentence sounds better with "however" at the start of the second sentence.
"They wanted to go on a vacation. They didn't have enough funds, however." The sentence is clearer with "however" at the beginning of the second sentence.
"He wanted to buy a new car. He didn't have sufficient savings, however." Placing "however" at the beginning of the second sentence enhances readability.
"She aimed to finish the book in a week. She couldn't manage her time, however." The sentence is more readable with "however" at the start of the second sentence.

Tips for Using "However" at the End of a Sentence

Using "However" at the end of a sentence can be effective when done correctly. It can add suspense or drama and can make your writing more engaging.

  • Do use "however" at the end of a sentence to add a dramatic touch.
  • Don't use "however" at the end of a sentence if it leads to sentence fragments or unclear sentences.
  • Do ensure that "however" at the end of a sentence introduces a contrast or contradiction.
  • Don't overuse this technique as it can make your writing seem repetitive.

Common Misconceptions and Myths

Contrary to popular belief, ending a sentence with "However" is not inherently incorrect. This myth likely stems from the more general and often-debated rule against ending sentences with prepositions.

  • Myth: "However" should never be used at the end of a sentence.

  • Reality: While it's not commonly done, it's not grammatically incorrect to end a sentence with "However."

  • Myth: Ending a sentence with "However" leads to sentence fragments.

  • Reality: If used correctly, ending a sentence with "However" does not necessarily lead to sentence fragments.


In conclusion, while ending a sentence with "However" can be a source of debate among grammarians, it is not inherently incorrect. It can be used effectively to introduce contrast or contradiction, and can add a dramatic flair to your writing. However, it should be used sparingly and with caution to avoid producing awkward or unclear sentences. As with any aspect of language, the key lies in understanding the rules and knowing how to use them effectively.

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